Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Boston Red Sox

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Angels 11, Red Sox 0: Not the best 22 hours or so for the Red Sox. After Wednesday night’s marathon they come in bleary-eyed and get utterly shellacked by the Halos. Eight runs on ten hits in four innings for John Lackey who, to be honest, should have been the best rested of all of the Red Sox given that he was probably sent home early the night before.  Speaking of rest: I almost wonder if the road team has an advantage bouncing back for a day game 11 hours after the night game ended. Since they don’t have a drive and are staying at an in-town hotel instead of their suburban mansions — and since they don’t have family with them who they want to see in the morning — I’m guessing it’s a shorter time from the ballpark to head-on-the pillow for the visitors, and I bet they got more sleep.

Tigers 6, Yankees 3: Know what I really don’t want to hear much more of? “What will they do about Derek Jeter” talk. Because here’s what they can do: nothing. They give him a day off here and there and each time Eduardo Nunez comes in and throws the ball all over the place. I guess he hits a little, but the fact is that Jeter doesn’t have an heir at short. He’s not getting moved any time soon. The talk about moving him up and down the lineup seems like deck chairs on the Titanic stuff. Eduardo Nunez. Ick.  Three out of four for the Tigers who, at times anyway, look like the only team who even remotely has it in them to make a run at Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ lead over Tampa Bay is down to one game.

Reds 10, Astros 4: Homer Bailey returns from the DL and looks good: six innings, four hits, a run and seven strikeouts. Jay Bruce is heating up too (3 for 4, HR 3 runs).

Cardinals 6, Marlins 3: It’s not often you see Josh Johnson get beat up, but the Cardinals did it. Four runs batted in for Lance Berkman, including three on a tie-breaking home run in the eighth. Colby Rasmus, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday all had nice days too.  Those four in the middle of the lineup can do some damage.

Indians 4, Athletics 3: Oakland had a ton of chances here, stranding runners in scoring position in extra innings twice and leaving a bunch of other guys on base.  The Indians, however, got the hits when it mattered with 12th inning RBI singles from Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson.  The Tribe is 21-9, matching their best start in franchise history. They’ve done that a few times, actually. One notable time: 1948. Which, if you’re an Indians fan, should mean something to you.

Mets 5, Giants 2: Mike Pelfrey helps the Mets avoid a sweep, allowing one earned run (and another unearned) on four hits in seven and two-thirds. Don’t get too excited, though, Mets fans. This was a very getaway day lineup for the Giants. Oh, and this is fun: K-Rod allowed three baserunners but none scored. He’s been doing a lot of that recently, giving him a strange looking 1.35 ERA but a 1.88 WHIP.

Royals 9, Orioles 1: Melky Cabrera went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI and a walk. Bruce Chen allowed one run on five hits over seven. And most significantly of all: the Royals called up Eric Hosmer after the game.

Rays 3, Blues Jays 1: David Price was rough stuff, striking out ten in eight innings. Johnny Damon got his 2,600th career hit.

Braves 2, Brewers 1: Brandon Beachy continues to impress (6 IP, 0 ER, 9K) as he makes homers from Martin Prado and Eric Hinske hold up.

Phillies 7, Nationals 3: Philly jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Yeah, I think that was enough for Roy Halladay, who struck out 10 in seven innings.

Mariners 3, Rangers 1: Justin Smoak’s hot streak continues with a home run against his former club. Since coming back to the team after the death of his father he is batting .353 with three homers, four doubles and 13 RBI.  The Mariners are 7-2 during that stretch.

Diamondbacks 3, Rockies 2: Down 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Arizona rallied for two runs off Huston Street. In the bottom of the 11th Justin Upton singled home Chris Young. The Diamondbacks finish a pretty respectable homestand in which they took two of three from the Rockies and Phillies and split four with the Cubs.

The Days of Chief Wahoo are numbered

Fox Entertainment

One of the more common responses to what I’ve posted about Chief Wahoo lately is “it’s just a cartoon character! Nobody cares!”

Well, looking at that guy in the photo above and many others dressed like him at Progressive Field the past two days is evidence that it is not just a cartoon character. A certain swath of Indians fans think that, because of their team’s name and mascot, it’s totally acceptable to show up in public looking like this. Wahoo as an official trademark of a Major League Baseball club gives people license to dress up in redface — or in this case, red and blackface — with headdresses on, turning a real people and a real culture into a degrading caricature. It’s not just a cartoon character by a long shot. To many it’s a get-out-being-called-a-racist-free card.

As for “nobody cares,” well, yes, someone does. Go read this from Sterling HolyWhiteMountain over at ESPN, talking about both Chief Wahoo as a symbol and America’s treatment and conception of Native Americans as a whole. It’s moving stuff that puts lie to the idea that “nobody cares.” It likewise puts lie to the false choice so many Chief Wahoo defenders reference in which they argue that people should care more about actual injustices visited upon Native Americans and not mascots. One can and should care about those injustices. And one can do that while simultaneously finding Chief Wahoo to be an odious symbol that serves to dehumanize people. Once people are dehumanized, it’s far easier to treat them as something less-than-human, of course.

But it’s not just Native Americans or anti-Wahoo folks like me who care. While I have been critical of Major League Baseball for not taking its own stand against Wahoo publicly, it seems pretty clear at this point that the league is weary of Wahoo and is looking to pressure the Indians to eliminate it. Last night, at the Hank Aaron Award ceremony, Manfred spoke more expansively about Wahoo than he did the day before. Manfred is a lawyer and he does not choose his words carelessly. Read this and parse it carefully:

“I know that that particular logo is offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why. Logos are, however, primarily a local matter. The local club makes decisions about its logos. Fans get attached to logos. They become part of a team’s history. So it’s not easy as coming to the conclusion and realizing that the logo is offensive to some segment.

“I’ve talked to Mr. [Indians owner and CEO Paul] Dolan about this issue. We’ve agreed away from the World Series at an appropriate time we will have a conversation about this. I want to understand fully what his view is, and we’ll go from there. At this point in this context, I’m just not prepared to say more.”

Yes, he’s still trying to be diplomatic, but note how he (a) acknowledges that Wahoo is offensive to some people; (b) that “all of us at Major League Baseball understand why” and (c) does not validate the views of those who do not find it offensive. He acknowledges that they feel that way due to history, but he does not say, as I inferred from his previous comments the day before, that both sides have merit. Indeed, he says he’d like to hear Paul Dolan’s side, suggesting that while he’ll listen to argument, he doesn’t buy the argument as it has yet to be put.

I still wish that MLB would come out hard and strong against Wahoo publicly, but the more I listen to Manfred on this and read between the lines, the more I suspect that Major League Baseball is finally fed up with Wahoo and that it wants to do something to get rid of it. That it’s not just the hobby horse of pinko liberals like me. I believe Manfred realizes that, in 2016, Chief Wahoo is an embarrassment to an organization like Major League Baseball. Maybe, because of p.r. and political considerations, he doesn’t want to stand on a soapbox about it at the World Series, but I believe he wants to put an end to it all the same.

You can call me names for being against Wahoo all you want. But you can’t say it’s a non-issue. You can’t say that it’s just a cartoon character and you can’t say that nobody cares. To do that is an exercise in denial. I have come to believe that Major League Baseball cares and that it’s going to push hard to make the 2016 World Series the last time it is embarrassed by anachronistic racism on its biggest stage ever again.

Game 2 is going to be the poster child for pace of play arguments this winter

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Zach McAllister #34 of the Cleveland Indians is relieved by manager Terry Francona during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images

In August, it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to implement pitch clocks, like those in use in the minor leagues for the past two seasons, to improve the pace-of-play at the major league level. You can bet that last night’s Game 2 will be the lead argument he uses against those who would oppose the move.

The game was moved up an hour in order to get it in before an impending storm. By the time the rain finally started falling the game had been going on for three hours and thirty-three minutes. It should’ve been over before the first drop fell, but in all it lasted four hours and four minutes. It ended in, thankfully, only a light rain. The longest nine-inning game in postseason history happened a mere two weeks ago, when the Dodgers and Nationals played for four hours and thirty two minutes. There thirteen pitchers were used. Last night ten pitchers were used. Either way, the postseason games are dragging on even for those of us who don’t mind devoting four+ hours of our night to baseball. It is likely putting off more casual fans just tuning in for the Fall Classic.

It’s not all just dawdling, however. Yes, the pitchers worked slowly and a lot of pitching changes took place, but strikeouts, walks and the lack of balls in play contribute to longer games as well. We saw this both last night and in Game 1, which was no brisk affair despite each starting pitcher looking sharp and not working terribly slowly. Twenty-four strikeouts on Tuesday night had a lot to do with that. Last night featured 20 strikeouts and thirteen — thirteen! — walks. It’s not just that the games are taking forever; the very thing causing them to drag feature baseball’s least-kinetic forms of excitement.

But no matter what the cause for the slower play was — and here it was a combination of laboring pitchers, the lack of balls in play and, of course, the longer commercial breaks in the World Series — Manfred is likely to hold Game 2 up as Exhibit A in his efforts to push through some rules changes to improve game pace and game time. So far, the centerpiece of those efforts is the pitch clock, which has proven to be successful and pretty non-controversial in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me one bit if, at this year’s Winter Meetings in Washington, a rule change in that regard is widely discussed.